FUN THINGS TO DO THIS FALL IN SOUTHERN GEORGIAN BAY

Fall it’s the time of year that inspires us to get in the car and go for a drive to see the colours.   Speaking of colours, not sure why, but they seem to have started later this year.  Usually by Thanksgiving they are at their prime, but reports indicate 30 – 50% change in the South Georgian Bay area currently.

 

Escape The City

Only a 90-minute drive from Toronto, it’s worth the drive to the Collingwood and Blue Mountain area.  Escape the hustle and bustle of the city, come relax, enjoy the beautiful scenery and quaint shops along the way.  Whether you’re planning on doing a day-trip, or staying for a weekend, there’s lots to see and do.

This Is Apple Country

We’re in the heart of apple country, and they are ready for the picking.  If you’re not into picking your own, no worries, there are numerous farms and markets where you can buy them.  If you’re not sure where to go, check out The Apple Pie Trail.  This website has a wealth of information that includes lodging; trail stops in various towns where you can buy apple baked goods, cideries, orchards, fresh produce, and experiences.  There’s some great history, as well as current trends in this locally produced documentary Apple Harvest Reel History.

Must See Places

The Fish Ladder located in the heart of Thornbury is a must see, if you’re in the area.  From late August to late October, you can see adult spawning Chinook Salmon as they migrate their way up stream and make their way up the Fishway to find a suitable location to lay their eggs.  It truly is an amazing thing to watch.  You’ll find yourself cheering on a fish, as it struggles to climb the ladder.

If you’re into hiking, the Niagara Escarpment is right in our backyard ready to explore.  There are numerous trails that appeal to all skill levels.  Nothing is more breathtaking than looking at the fall colours from high above a lookout point.  Another terrific viewing spot is the suspension bridge at Scenic Caves.

Visit a pumpkin patch, local craft brewery, one of the many fabulous independent restaurants and cafes, art galleries and more.  South Georgian Bay has it all, and fall is a terrific time to take it in.  If you’d like to experience some of these sights, but don’t want to navigate the back roads, perhaps a Create Your Own Experience is of interest.

Enjoy the season!

 

GOAT YOGA…ARE YOU KIDDING?

What is goat yoga?

A bunch of goats doing yoga you ask?  No, and it sounds like a joke, but it’s not.  A yoga teacher leads a class of humans, while goats interact with them.  Interaction can be nibbles (your hair, clothing or belongings) nuzzles and sniffs.  Having witnessed a large group of bachelorettes doing this, it’s safe to say you won’t be able to keep a straight face when you see a goat climbing on someone’s back, while trying to do the downward dog.

goat yoga

Is there a purpose for goat yoga?

It’s a proven fact that animals lift our spirit, lessen feelings of anxiety, loneliness and depression, and enhance communication.  Petting them produces an automatic relaxation response.  You can’t help but smile and laugh, when they’re on you or around you.

Are male and female goats used?

Yes, both male and female goats are used for goat yoga.  However, not all instructors use males as they tend to be a little more assertive.  Goats are the ideal animal, because they don’t need to form a bond with humans to interact with them.  Baby goats feel quite comfortable approaching humans and are natural comedians.

Is this just a fad?

Although currently very popular and cool to see on a friend’s Instagram, do not dismiss it as a here today, gone tomorrow fad.  Research has proven that animal therapy helps and has been known to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and even pain.

Where can I do this?

Blue Mountain Goat Yoga is currently offering classes at Grey & Gold Cider Company (one of our partner venues).  Knowing just how much fun this is, we’ve included goat yoga as an add-on to our Waterfalls & Wine Tour and Cheese Please, Wine Too!  As we head into the fall, yoga will be weather dependent as to when classes will end, so if you’d like to participate, we recommend booking now.

PLAN AHEAD FOR YOUR FALL VISIT

Plan Your Play, Plan Your Stay

This is the best advice that everyone is offering travelers this year, no matter where the destination.  The same advice applies for rural tourism that takes place in non-urbanized areas such as national parks, nature reserves, camping, glamping and hiking trails.

Know Before You Go

Visit government or municipality websites for up-to-date information.  Leave yourself extra time when planning, and be prepared for a Plan B.  Things may be different than you expected.  Expect reduced capacity, social distancing markers and barriers, mask wearing to be enforced, and be prepared to book attractions, activities and accommodations in advance.  Ideally the best time to book, is when you’re in the planning stage.

Minimize Stops, Maximize Time

A road trip is an ideal way to ease back into travel, if you’re not comfortable with flying.   Aim for a more contactless journey, and stay at fewer places along the way.  Instead make day trips, or excursions within a few hours from home, where you can stay at one accommodation.  Relax with fewer activities, and enjoy bigger spaces within your days.  Before you hit the road, ensure that your vehicle is road ready.  Check out these tips from Canadian Automobile Association.

Book A Clean, Near-Contactless Stay

Whether you book a hotel, B&B or chalet rental, you can be confident that the new industry protocols for cleaning and disinfecting are in place.  Particular attention is paid to high-touch surfaces like tv remote controls, door handles and light switches.  Some hotels offer minimal-contact check-in and no-contact delivery room service.

Know Your Comfort Level, Reduce Your Risk

Everyone has different comfort levels when it comes to travel.  Please be friendly and respectful with your fellow visitors.  Give each other space while standing in a line waiting, or passing on a hiking trail.  Follow the safety protocols in each place/attraction you are visiting.

Respect Nature

This year more than any, travelers are wanting to discover nature, experience its natural wonders and diverse ecosystems.  We must all be aware that we have an environmental responsibility to preserve the natural spaces that inspire us.  When tourism is not sustainable, it can be devastating on the ecosystem.  Leave nothing behind but your footprints.

Embrace Soft Tourism

Soft tourism is small-scale, locally owned businesses that emphasize what makes the destination unique. It employs local people, respects the local way of life, and is in harmony with local traditions.  It may highlight local experiences and encourage longer time spent in individual areas.  Soft adventure experiences can include hiking, kayaking, fishing and wine tasting.  The best way to experience some signature attractions in BruceGreySimcoe is with a local guide.  Blue Mountain & Collingwood Adventure Toursguides are keen to share their knowledge of the area at its attractions.

Buy Local, Support Local

Show your support for the hard-hit local businesses by purchasing their goods, using their services and telling your friends about them.  Take the time to write a positive review.  And remember to be patient and kind. Many businesses globally are experiencing staffing shortages.

Travel Tip

Traveling during a destination’s shoulder season, the period between peak and low seasons, typically combines lower prices for accommodations and fewer crowds everywhere.  This allows better opportunities to immerse yourself in a new place without contributing to over-tourism, but also provides the local economy with income during a normally slow season.  Regardless of the season, plan ahead and book your adventure now.

Things To Do in Collingwood in Summer

Summer is here and this year in particular, it’s a time for us to celebrate being back to a somewhat “normal” life.  A time when we crave being outside in the fresh air and sunshine, going to the beach, and taking some holiday time.

Now that more people have their second vaccines and are thinking about exploring a little farther from home, consider small towns that aren’t so crowded.

Only a 90-minute drive from Toronto, Collingwood has plenty to offer.  It’s also central to popular tourist attractions such as Wasaga Beach, and the Village at Blue Mountain.  Locals and visitors enjoy outdoor shopping Saturday mornings at the Collingwood Downtown Farmers’ Market.  Here you’ll find an assortment of fresh produce, baked goods, meats, local craft beer, cider, wine and spirits.

Beat The Heat

Cool off in Georgian Bay.  Take a dip off the pier at the Collingwood harbour, or Sunset Point Beach.  If you prefer to be on the water, kayaking or paddle boarding are fun too.

Outdoor Patios

We highly recommend you taste and toast Collingwood’s great outdoors during Patiolicious. The restaurants, bars and bistros have done an outstanding job of turning every available outdoor space into beautifully decorated patios.  You’d almost think there was a competition for the best decorated one.

Hit The Trails

You’ll be amazed with Collingwood’s extensive trail system.  All are perfect for cycling, walking or jogging.  There are plenty of opportunities to stop and take pictures of wildlife and views of Georgian Bay.  If you’re looking to get in touch with nature, and away from the crowds, a Guided Hiking Adventure provides all that and more.

An All-Inclusive Community

Recently, Collingwood got a new rainbow crosswalk.  As a result of the hard work of the Rainbow Club of South Georgian Bay, the premiere Collingwood Pride will be held July 15 – 18.  There will be a combination of virtual and socially distanced in-person events to enjoy.

No matter what sparks your interest, you’ll find something fun to do this summer in Collingwood and surrounding area.  We hope to see you soon!

Waterfalls & Wine Tour – What to Expect

Two Instagram worthy waterfalls, local wine and cider combined with warm hospitality, nuggets of local history and picturesque country scenery make for a memorable Waterfalls & Wine Tour.

Your day begins by being picked up in Collingwood or a Blue Mountain Resort area location (or as prearranged) by our professional driver.  Guests are greeted by a friendly tour guide, prior to boarding a mini-coach bus, with comfy seats.

Eugenia Falls

After a 30-minute picturesque drive, you’ll be able to stretch your legs at Eugenia Falls, the tallest waterfalls in the area.  It’s just a brief walk from the bus to the all-season trail that winds along the edge of the “Cuckoo Valley”, where magnificent views of the 98-foot falls are waiting to be captured.   Needless to say, Eugenia Falls is stunning in any season.

Hoggs Falls

A short drive away is Hoggs Falls, classified as a plunge waterfall.  This 23-foot falls  can be seen from above on the trail, or if you’re adventurous, scale your way down to the bottom by using a secured rope.  As a result of a hot day, you might even enjoy a refreshing dip in the cool water.

On the drive to the vineyard, we often stop in at the Ravenna Country Market where guests can buy a sandwich, and one of their delicious butter tarts.  Trust us, they’re so good you’ll likely end up buying more than one.

Wine Tasting

At Georgian Hills Vineyard, you’ll be met by their hostess who will share the trials and tribulations of growing grapes in this cool climate region of Georgian Bay.  In addition, you’ll be expertly guided through sampling four of their award-winning wines, and taste cheese perfectly paired with them.  As a result of the relaxing atmosphere on the patio, overlooking the vineyard, you’ll want to stay all day.

Orchard-To-Glass Apple Cider

Here in apple country, we’re fortunate to have a handful of terrific cideries as partner venues.  You’ll visit one and enjoy a flight of their hard cider, and a tasty goodie.  Each one has a charming country setting and sights to behold.

Back on the bus heading back, our guests often ooh and ahh over the picture-perfect day of rolling hills dotted with hay bales, stunning views of Georgian Bay, food and drinks that made their day memorable.

If  you’re needing a getaway, you can book  a Waterfalls & Wine Tour here.  Planning a team-building event?  Or perhaps a special girls’ day out?  Let Blue Mountain & Collingwood Adventure Tours make it a day to remember with one of our signature tours, or a private tour customized for you and your guests.  Click here to get started, and then we’ll look after all the details.

Stage One Reopening Excitement

Yahoo!

It’s been a long time coming and we’re all excited to be able to do basic things like getting a haircut and instore shopping.  Even better, we can now go out, reconnect with our friends and be social.

This summer will be a busy one everywhere, as people are beyond anxious to get away from home.  The South Georgian Bay area has already seen a recent surge of visitors, even before lockdown was officially over.  It’s no wonder people want to escape the city and visit our beautiful area for a daycation, or longer stay.

Outdoor gatherings can now be for groups of 10 however, the rule of outdoor dining of tables of up to 4 people applies to our craft beer, cider and wine tours.  So, if you’re organizing a get together with a bunch of your friends, or family, please keep this in mind when making plans to do things.

All of our partner venues have outdoor patios, or some type of covered structure, where you can sit back and relax, take in the picturesque country scenery, indulge in their locally made adult beverages and enjoy a charcuterie or trout platter, tacos and other delicious choices.

Although it’s kind of disappointing that group sizes can’t be more, it beats being stuck at home.  Hopefully if all goes well, stage two will happen in 21 days and perhaps you’ll be able to bring more friends.  If you’re looking for something fun to do, our tours provide not only that, but a great escape from the everyday routine.

Cheers!

Hiking 101: A Guide for Beginners

 

Canada has some pretty incredible landscapes ranging from coastal rainforests and mountain ranges, to colourful meadows and rugged cliff sides – with options to suit every fitness level.

To fully appreciate these different sceneries, you need to explore them by foot, so lace up your hiking boots as we go through the basics of hiking.
As a beginner, you might be wondering what you need to know to start and that’s why we’ve come up with this simple guide to help you plan for your first hiking experience.

This backpacking checklist is your guide to packing smart for hiking:
  • Closed-Toe Shoes – You need light, easy-to-move running shoes, preferably sneakers.
  • Comfortable Clothing – A light t-shirt and probably sweatpants/shorts in the summer or warm clothing when it’s cold.
  • Insect Repellent – Insects especially mosquitoes and soldier ants are never friendly especially when hiking, if you have insect repellents apply to skin, clothing, or other surfaces to  discourage insects . A soldier ant in your pants is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.
  • Camera – if you don’t do anything else, you need to take Insta-worthy photos. I mean, how would other people know you went hiking? *wink*. Memories, they say, “last for a lifetime”.
  • Sunscreen – You should ALWAYS have a tube of sunscreen to protect your skin from sun rays.
  • SunglassesProtect your eyes from the sun, while looking cool.
  • Water bottle and Snack Pack – You will get dehydrated and hungry for sure, always go with a water bottle and some snack
  • First Aid Kit -It’s always important to be ready for any emergencies.
  • Trail Map – If you’re going to an unknown location, it’s always a good idea to print off a map, or  download an app, before you head off.

Join a Hiking Group

Hiking is more fun and also safer to do with people who are at least relatively known to you. You can join a hiking group and be sure to make life long friends when you hike.  Or go with someone who is an experienced certified guide on a Guided Hiking Adventure.  They know all the hidden trails, dangers to avoid, picturesque sites and you won’t get lost.

Pick the Best Trails

As a newbie, you should pick your first trail carefully. Luckily, there are so many great trails in Canada.  The 725 km Niagara Escarpment, which began some 450 million years ago as the bed of a tropical sea, has numerous side trails where you’ll discover nature and stunning scenery.

Check the Weather

Before going for a hike, do check the weather for the day or following days, if its more than a day’s hike you’re planning. This is advantageous as it would help you know what clothing you need. Would you need something to keep warm or something to keep cool? Would you need a rain jacket or not?

Hiking is a 4 season activity that provides adventure, physical fitness and is beneficial for mental health.  So, unplug, get outdoors, go for a hike and connect with nature soon!  Remember though, to respect the surroundings and leave nothing but your footprints behind.  If you’re planning on visiting the Collingwood or Blue Mountain area and have a small group who’d like to explore some amazing hiking trails (whether experienced or not) in our neck of the woods, check out our hiking adventure.

Enjoy!

 

Must-Visit Locations in Grey, Bruce and Simcoe County

Do not let the global pandemic put a damper on your future travel plans. We recognize that the stay-at-home orders has made it difficult to get out there and explore with your friends. To help lift your spirits, may we suggest a few unique and fun things to do near Collingwood that you could do in the near future as a custom tour with Blue Mountain & Collingwood Adventure Tours, or modify to suit your individual taste.

Collingwood, ON

Collingwood is a place to “Live, Work and Play”, and play you shall with our tours. Start off by testing your skill at Bare Axe Throwing where your group will have its own axe throwing coach.  The big fireman axe comes out for the finals!

Next, we drive to downtown Collingwood for a stop at the Collingwood Olive Oil Co.  At their tasting bar, sample the highest quality extra virgin olive oils harvested from the most current crops around the globe.  Their boxed sets and condiments make terrific gifts, or treats for you.

The Chipper is one of our favourite places to stop for an outdoor lunch (from mid April to mid September) in a park setting on the shore of Georgian Bay.  The view is spectacular and so are the fresh-cut fries!

Then we’re off to the harbour where you’ll board The Huronic (named after the first steel hull launched in Collingwood harbour), operated by Collingwood Charters, where you enjoy a Wine or Beer & Cheese Sampling Cruise.  Your guide will give you a tour around Nottawasaga Bay and tell you about Collingwood’s shipbuilding history. At the same time, you sip on local wine or beer paired with artisanal cheeses.  Once back on land, we’ll drop you back to your hotel, chalet or lodging.

Staying longer than a day – here’s some notable suggestions:

1) Every Saturday, visit Collingwood Downtown Farmers Market for fresh produce and treats.

2) Don’t miss the culinary adventure trail known as the Apple Pie Trail. South Georgian Bay’s apple-growing history inspires it.

3) Take a workshop and make your own candles at The Serendipity Candle Factory.


Grey County and the Town of Thornbury 

Grey County is home to ten serene, picturesque, and natural waterfalls scattered across the landscape, and there is no doubt each unique waterfall will take your breath away. Your day starts with a morning pick up by your driver in a comfortable mini-coach or luxury executive coach bus.

Hoggs Falls, our first stop, is a plunge waterfall that is just over 7 metres tall and surrounded by lush wilderness. If you’re adventurous, you’ll want to take the rope down to the base of the falls. The second falls on the tour is Eugenia Falls; the tallest and was home to the first “Fools Gold” rush in the region. This area later housed five mills and a small private electric plant.

Then we’ll head to Grey & Gold Cider, a sustainable, farm based cidery in the heart of Grey County apple country.  Enjoy a glass of refreshing, award winning cider such as “Modern Girl”, an off-dry modern cider back-sweetened with honey from their farm property.

The Grill at Lora Bay is a great place to stop for lunch on their patio, overlooking the golf course.  After you’ve finished your meal and taken in the relaxing views of the greens, you’ll be dropped off in downtown Thornbury.  Here you can enjoy some free time to wander and shop the boutiques, art galleries and quaint shops this beautiful rural town has to offer.

We head back along Highway 26, which offers a fantastic view of the Georgian Bay shoreline. See you next time!

Staying longer than a day – here’s some notable suggestions:

1) Visit the Frauxmagerie for plant-based cheese that uses Cashews and a Vegan probiotic in the fermentation process.

2) Ted’s Range Road Diner is a little place that someone like Guy Fieri himself would have on Diner’s, Drive-ins, and Dives. Cannot miss it!

3) Explore the 1,350-km Georgian Bay Coastal Route with scenic stops marked along the way (Manitoulin Island, Killarney, Wasaga Beach, Bruce Peninsula etc.).


Blue Mountain, ON

There is only one place in the entire Bruce, Grey and Simcoe area in Ontario that is known for its recreational activities, and that is Blue Mountain. For those from out of town, it is well known as a winter destination, but when the snow is gone, and the heat is on, it is a place you do not want to miss out on.

Start your day with a hike through the Bruce Trail, part of the Niagara Escarpment, with a local guide, as you marvel at the Caribbean blue waters of the Georgian Bay. At noon, we head to Copper Blues Bar & Grill, the pioneer restaurant in the Blue Mountain Village, for lunch.  Do not forget to pair it up with some local craft beer or cider.  After lunch, enjoy an open-air gondola ride with a 360-degree view as you approach the top of Blue Mountain.  This is a photographer’s dream.  As our time ends in Blue Mountain, we take you back, right where our friendship started. Our Blue Mountain adventure ends here, but the memories will last a lifetime.

Staying longer than a day – here’s some notable suggestions:

1) Enjoy an adrenaline-filled ride with Hummer Tours operated by Extreme Adventures

2) Swim and soak up some sun at the Blue Mountain Beach, free to overnight guests.

3) Explore the Scenic Caves at Blue Mountain dating back 450 million years. Ontario’s largest suspension bridge, 15 km of trails and 200-year-old forests are just some of the attractions worthy of your time.


Yours to Discover

No matter what type of tourist you are, each one of these stops provides something unique for everyone. We at Blue Mountain & Collingwood Adventure Tours assure you and your party will have a great time as you discover all that this region has to offer.

For our signature tours and adventures, check out our tour page.  Or Contact us for more information on these suggestions, or to customize your next adventure.

For now, stay close to home, support local businesses, and help fight the spread of Covid-19. Together we will come out stronger. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Cheers!

 

 

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